Most Important Piano Composers in the History of Music

Music is an integral pleasure in life. Great musicians have left lasting impressions to influence mankind throughout history and will continue to do so as long as civilization remains.

Keyboard musical instruments began with the harpsichord, clavichord, and organ. They evolved into the pianoforte in 1709 and it wasn’t long before masters began to emerge, creating pieces still enjoyed today. Let’s take a look at some of the most important piano composers to date.

Johan Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) Wiki

While Bach was an organist, he developed a style of playing called “fugue” where each hand plays separate lines of melody woven into harmony. He is considered one of the most important composers of the Baroque period. Some of his best known compositions include “Mass in B Minor” and “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) Wiki

Wolfgang Mozart began his interest in music playing harpsichord and violin at a very young age. He wrote his first composition at age 5 and began playing publicly at age 6. His transition to piano was no problem for his musical genius. Mozart died young, at age 35, but not before writing many symphonies, concertos, operas, etc. He is considered one of the most influential composers of the classical era.

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) Wiki

Born into a family of musicians, Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote his first composition at age 11. By age 14, he was a paid employee for the Court Chapel. Some of his most famous works include “Moonlight Sonata” and “Adelaide”. In his 20s, he was diagnosed with an illness doctors could not treat at that time and became deaf by age 29. Though he could no longer play, he still composed music.

Franz Peter Schubert (1797 – 1828) Wiki

Though Schubert did not enjoy a long life, he wrote over 1000 compositions while on this earth. He became involved in music at age 6, learning violin from his father and piano from his older brother. He played with his father’s string quartet before leaving to study music under Antonio Salieri at the Stadtkonvikt (Imperial Seminary). He also studied music composition and theory.

Schubert returned home at age 16 and trained to be a teacher. He began teaching in his father’s school a year later. As he studied and taught, he continued to compose. By age 21, he decided to give up teaching and devote his time solely to his music. Two of his greatest compositions are “Unfinished Symphony” and the “Great C Major Symphony”. He died at age 31 of typhoid fever.

Frederic Chopin (1810 – 1849) Wiki

Following other great composers, Chopin was born into a family of musicians and developed his love of music and ability to play at early age. His older teacher is considered his first piano teacher. Most of his compositions have been classified as romantic music. He performed across Europe and Asia before succumbing to tuberculosis at age 39. He is seen as the greatest Polish composer. His most famous work is “The Minute Waltz.”

It is interesting to note that Mozart was influenced by John Sebastian Bach’s son, Christian, while still an adolescent. Beethoven played for Mozart at age 16. All came from families who were musically talented and could pass on the love to their offspring. It seems safe to say that our most important piano composers in the history of music were influenced first by their families and second by those musicians who came before them. Dedication to their craft was what made them great.